Coaching Staff Will Undergo Few Changes

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 30, 2007

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 29 -- Washington Nationals Manager Manny Acta met Saturday afternoon with General Manager Jim Bowden and vice president of player development Bob Boone about the future of his coaching staff, and came out of the meeting saying, "It's almost certain that almost everyone will be back."

Acta seemed to indicate that hitting coach Lenny Harris, who has held the job on an interim basis since taking over for Mitchell Page in May, would be back.

"Lenny brings a lot of energy," Acta said. "We're willing to give Lenny the opportunity to grow into that job. If we, at times, do it with players, I think that sometimes we ought to do it with coaches."

Harris, who retired as a player after the 2005 season when no one picked him up, said this week that he badly wanted to return.

The other interesting decision involves third base coach Tim Tolman, whom Acta considers a mentor from his days in the minor leagues. Tolman hadn't coached third since his days as a minor league manager from 1991 to '96.

"I think he's done a good job," Acta said. "I think he obviously started shaky in the year. It's not an easy job. But since whatever that incident with Nook Logan [against Cleveland in June], is there another one since then? Gradually, he has gotten better."

'Meat' of the Order

First baseman Dmitri Young was in the lineup Saturday for the first time since Sept. 15, when he was struck by a bad-hop grounder off the bat of Atlanta's Mark Teixeira, causing him whiplash and neck stiffness. Young took batting practice Friday, then told Acta he was available. After Friday's game, he went into Acta's office and said he wanted to play Saturday.

"I'm excited," Young said. "There's a big crowd out there. They're trying to make the playoffs, and we're trying to keep them out. I want to be out there."

Young went 0 for 4 before being lifted for a pinch runner in the seventh, dropping his average to .320, though he did hit a hard liner to left that was snared by Philadelphia's Pat Burrell.

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